News Nosh 03.31.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday March 31, 2014

Quote of the day:
"For many Israelis, the “recognition-plus" [of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] demand has taken root not because they are looking for an excuse not to make peace, but, at least in part, because it taps into their longing to not simply be tolerated in the Middle East, but to be embraced, in the region and the world, as a legitimate, indigenous nation, consistent with Israel’s founding Zionist narrative of the return of the Jews to their historic homeland."
--APN's Lara Friedman explains the mindset behind the Israeli and Palestinian narratives and suggests how to unravel the apparent Gordian knot of the demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.*

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Judgment day - Holyland trial likely to end today in ruling
  • The (Palestinian) prisoners dilemma
  • Negotiations going nowhere // Nahum Barnea
  • Don't release them // Yuval Diskin
  • "You are guilty" - Girl who suffered gang rape at age 13 writes how it happened and turns to parents who are (now) defending their sons: "Do you really think that I initiated it? I wanted to die."
  • not published today
Israel Hayom
  • Until the last moment - Holyland - the drama is at a climax: Ruling this morning?
  • An unprecedented conclusion to a judicial drama
  • "Kerry considering arriving again to prevent the collapse of the talks"
  • Two weeks before the holiday: price of tomatoes skyrockets
  • Putting out the electronic cigarettes?
  • Violence again in school: 15-year-old stabbed because of fight over chair
  • Turkey: Erdogan's party leads in local elections
  • Shock in Basketball Association: Chairman Dan Halutz resigns

Peace Talk Highlights:
Today's top story focused on the tension ahead of the ruling today in the Holyland Trial and who might be convicted. (It was already announced at 9AM local: former prime minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of bribery.)

The next biggest story was over the question if and when Israel would release the fourth round of Palestinian prisoners and what it would do afterward. AP reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry was considering returning to the region to salvage the peace talks and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets today with the Palestinian leadership to discuss further steps if Israel doesn't release fourth group of prisoners. 

However, the papers write that it appears Israel will release the last prisoners to avoid the explosion of talks - although it's unclear if that will include the Israeli Arab citizens - and that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is now debating whether to release hundreds more in a fifth round of releases or to freeze settlement construction, as a gesture for the Palestinian agreeing to extend the talks. Haaretz+ reported that Netanyahu started preparing his party cabinet ministers for the possibility that they may have to approve the confidence-building measures. Netanyahu said yesterday that the release must pass a cabinet approval. One senior official told Israel Hayom that if the release were passed, the government coalition would collapse because Habayit Hayehudi party would pull out and other ministers would oppose. Indeed, Economy Minister and chairman of Habayit Hayehudi, Naftali Bennett, is trying to thwart the release, Haaretz Hebrew reported.
US special envoy Martin Indyk met with negotiators on both sides yesterday to try to prevent the peace talks from collapsing. Israeli President Shimon Peres said that within a day or two it would be known whether a solution can be found to allow the talks to continue. Peres warned that if the talks collapse, it will be hard, if not impossible, to renew them in the foreseeable future, the papers reported.
Meanwhile, at Land Day demonstrations thousands of Palestinians urged the release of Palestinian prisoners.
More than 15,000 Palestinians and Israeli Arabs commemorated Land Day shouting slogans like "we will sacrifice our lives for the martyrs, we are not afraid, Israel is a terrorist state, there will be a third intifada if the prisoners are not released." The annual Land Day demonstrations are held to remember six Israeli Arab protesters who were shot dead by Israeli police and troops during mass demonstrations in 1976 against plans to confiscate Arab land in the Galilee. At a Land Day demonstration at Jerusalem's Old City Damascus Gate, a woman was injured from police pepper spraying her in the face, several demonstrators and four journalists were slightly injured by projectiles fired by police and a man was arrested. In the Gaza Strip, rival political parties, including Hamas and Fatah, united in a rally marking Land Day, Maan reported.

Quick Hits:
  • Israeli forces escort settlers as they stone Hebron homes - Settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba hurled rocks at Palestinian homes and swore at locals in Hebron. Israeli troops responded to complaints by escorting the settlers and detaining Palestinians. (Maan
  • Clashes in Silwan as Israeli forces detain teen - Clashes broke out in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Saturday after Israeli forces detained a 16-year-old boy, while he was standing outside his home. (Maan)
  • Sheldon Adelson expands Israeli media empire, buys Makor Rishon and NRG - If Antitrust Authority signs off on 17-million shekel deal, right-wing casino magnate, owner of Israel Hayom, will have local media empire. (Haaretz+ and Globes)
  • Christie, Walker court Jewish Republican donors in Las Vegas - Sheldon Adelson sits directly in front of Christie, while he does not attend Walker's speech. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • New Jersey gov. apologizes for 'occupied territories' remark - Chris Christie says he 'misspoke' when using the controversial term during his address to a Republican Jewish Coalition event hosted by Sheldon Adelson. (Ynet
  • State to fund student and soldier tours of Hebron in the name of slain Israeli MK - Three West Bank local authorities to receive government grants to commemorate Rehavam Ze’evi. (Haaretz+)
  • East Jerusalem construction on hold for four years - A-Sawahra residents ask court to order municipality to push through development plans, because city refuses to approve individual building plans, claiming the overall plan is about to be authorized, although it has been frozen for years. (Haaretz+)
  • Survey: 42% of employers prefer not to hire Arab me -
  • Economy Ministry polls finds Haredi men, educated Arab women face discrimination from employers as well. (Haaretz+ and Globes)
  • Israeli military to investigate border killing of Jordanian judge - Military adjutant general orders official investigation into incident at Allenby Bridge three weeks ago. (Haaretz+) 
  • Netanyahu: UNHRC anti-Israeli resolutions are 'absurd' - PM condemns UN body's 'march of hypocrisy' in targeting Israel while 'the slaughter in Syria is continuing, innocent people are being hung in the Middle East and human rights are being eroded.' (Ynet
  • Ya'alon to Dempsey: U.S. ties 'cornerstone' of Israeli security - Israeli defense minister meets U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff in Jerusalem, discusses progress in Mideast. (Haaretz)
  • Government grants special visas to American investors - As part of new cooperation with American authorities, Israeli businessmen will also be granted benefits, including investor visas allowing them to stay in the US for up to two years. (Ynet)
  • Israeli cadet expelled from training base for doodling picture of Hitler - Commander compares soldiers' keeping silent about the sketch to people who didn't speak out during the Holocaust. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF publishes 'Ten Commandments for haredi soldier' - As Israel prepares to recruit more religious soldiers, army releases pamphlet titled 'Defending the Nation, Guarding the Torah' to help haredim operate with minimal Shabbat desecration. (Ynet)
  • A selfie too good to censor - Israeli army posts photo of pilot flying over Tel Aviv on its Facebook page, without blurring his face. (Haaretz)
  • French Jewish immigration reaches new high - Figures show that 854 French immigrants arrived in Israel in January and February – more than three times the number arriving in the same two-month period the previous year. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran's chief rabbi passes away over Sabbath - Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen was chief rabbi of Iran's Jewish community since 1994. (Haaretz)
  • Rare Paleolithic site filled with animal bones uncovered at Israeli quarry - The large pit, settled 170,000 years ago, contains bones of rhinos and an extinct species of wild cattle. (Haaretz+)

The no border movement
What happens when Edna Kanti, a former participant on the 'Big Brother' reality show and activist in (left-wing) Machom Watch, is invited to appear in (the Hebron settlement of) Kiryat Arba and sleep at the home of one of the participants? The result: A journey with surprising insights on how it feels to be a left-winger in the radical right-wing stronghold of the settlements and being a Jew in Palestinian Hebron. (Edna Kanti, photos by Ata Awisat, Sunday Yedioth's 24 Hours supplement, p. 4)
Bedouin lawyer and PhD student: 'No, I was not raised in a tent'
Rawia Aburabia, 33, says that even though the situation of Bedouin women is bad, a trend of 'groundbreaking women' is taking hold. (Haaretz+)

They can be killed (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The language of the military and Shin Bet spokespersons hypnotizes us, as always, with its objective-professional imitation. 
When Israel is building in the occupied Territories, Palestinian rejectionism shrinks (Ben-Dror Yemini, Maariv's NRG Hebrew) When Israel insists on expanding settlements and builds "new neighborhoods," you can't make the Palestinians responsible (for the failure of the talks). This issue is not, admittedly, about anti-Semitism or being anti - Israel. Even friends of Israel, who support the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, find it difficult to understand this Israeli insistence. The majority of Israelis support the formula of two states for two peoples. Expansion of settlements undermines prospects for a settlement. But a minority also controls the new coalition. A majority, both in the Knesset and the country, supports painful compromise. But there is a minority in the Knesset, which has great strength in the coalition and manages to dictate a policy against the national interests - and is building here one state and is being applauded by supporters of the boycott...
38 years on, Israel still doesn't understand Arab protests over land seizures (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) Since the first Land Day, Israeli Arabs have been losing their trust in Israel’s Jewish populace.
Abu Mazen is the big winner from the failed negotiations (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv's NRG Hebrew) Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas used Netanyahu's hesitancy and got nearly 80 inmates. If the Prime Minister wants to change things he needs to announce a freeze on settlement construction.
Abbas, don’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz+) We, Jews, must free ourselves from the obsessive need to define ourselves as a single entity.
Terrorist release must be stopped (Yuval Diskin, Yedioth/Ynet) Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin calls on Israeli government to postpone fourth stage of prisoner release, offer to freeze settlement construction instead.
**What Israeli Palestinian mutual recognition really means (Peace Now's Lara Friedman, Haaretz+) Unlike Israel's unilateral insistence on the 'Jewish state', Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to find a recognition formula that reconciles two opposing national narratives.
Apartheid, Palestinian-style (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) Arab apartheid prompts Palestinians to kill Israelis by firing rockets from civilian homes, knowing Israel will not return fire on the source. 
How Israeli Arabs can achieve a just distribution of resources (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) Industrial zones are erected right next to Arab communities, but great care is always taken to retain them within the jurisdiction of Jewish communities, funneling property taxes to the latter.
Peace process as an obstacle to peace (A. B. Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) In recent years, writes novelist A. B. Yehoshua, 'peace process' has become an independent diplomatic entity whose outward appearance conceals not only real inaction but deeds which clearly contradict peace itself.
Why Israelis make the worst tourists (Michelle Hites, Haaretz+) Israeli backpackers' behavior dirties Israel's name around the world, and Diaspora Jewish communities are tired of trying to minimize the damage they cause.
The permanent war (Richard Baehr, Israel Hayom) The Palestinians have never prepared their people for peace and reconciliation. Their behavior shows they don't have an iota of interest in a two-state solution.
Olmert brought down by his own mistake (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) For years, former prime minister relied not only on his wisdom, but also on the admiration, devotion and loyalty of his employees and friends. Until he made one foolish decision.

Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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